The Ashland City Council will hold a public hearing about proposed gun regulations on March 18.

The Ashland City Council will hold a public hearing about proposed gun regulations on March 18.

Several councilors said they especially want to hear input about a proposed regulation that City Attorney Dave Lohman has identified as most legally defensible.

That proposed regulation would ban the carrying of loaded weapons in public places.

A group called Citizens for a Safe Ashland has proposed bans on carrying loaded weapons in public as well as clips or magazines loaded with ammunition. The group also wants to require gun owners to store their weapons in a way that prevents minors from reaching those guns without permission.

Councilor Carol Voisin, who has voiced support for the Citizens for a Safe Ashland proposals, said she wants people to be able to speak about all options for gun regulations at the public hearing.

Councilor Pam Marsh said anyone can give opinions about a range of gun regulations at the public hearing.

"But it's only fair to give an indication of what piece of it we may pursue," Marsh said.

She said if the council does take any action, it would be most likely to pursue a regulation that has the best chance of withstanding a lawsuit.

Lohman has warned that Ashland attorney fees to defend a gun regulation lawsuit filed locally in Circuit Court could surpass $150,000.

Legal costs would grow if the case continued to the Oregon Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

Outside forces, including gun rights groups, would probably join the fray, he said.

If Ashland lost the fight, it could be ordered to pay the other side's attorney fees, Lohman said.

— Vickie Aldous